International News from the UUA (iNews)
I. A Pilgrimage to Africa
In November 2008 Reverend William G. Sinkford, President of the UUA, will embark on a pilgrimage to six countries in Africa. The purposes of the pilgrimage are:
- to meet with old and new colleagues among the Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa,
- to learn from the experience and wisdom of leaders in Truth and Reconciliation work in South Africa, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
- to learn from leaders of social justice and human rights organizations involved in diverse struggles, including: LGBT Rights, Fair Wages, HIV/AIDS, Women's Rights, and Socially Responsible Investing,
- to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site and symbolic center of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Île de Gorée.
Individual UU's and UU congregations can participate with Reverend Sinkford during the journey in a variety of ways:
- by following blogposts, reports, news items, photos and video posted during the journey,
- by joining a Sunday School "web-cast" in real time with Reverend Sinkford each Sunday during the pilgrimage,
- by using the "congregational participation" resource which describes each segment of the journey and the people/organizations Reverend Sinkford will be visiting with,
- by participating in the "Propose a Question" contest - Reverend Sinkford will present the most popular questions to people that he meets with.
Information about each of these opportunities will soon be available at www.uua.org/sinkfordafrica. Or, for more information, please contact the UUA's International Resources Office.
II. Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office Takes Lead on LGBT Human Rights
"Reaffirming Human Rights for All: the Universal Declaration at 60" was a three-day conference held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Held to commemorate the signing in Paris in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the event was cosponsored by UNESCO, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Government of France.
Bruce Knotts, Executive Director of the UU-UNO, (pictured third from left) offered leadership during the conference on LGBT rights.
Click here to read about the UU-UNO's activities at the UN Dept of Public Information's 61st Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations - "Reaffirming Human Rights for All: The Universal Declaration at 60."
III. Interfaith Youth Corp
One of the most enthusiastically received workshops at General Assembly 2008 was a conversation with Eboo Patel, Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC) and author of Acts of Faith (published by Beacon Press). Many UU congregations are already involved with IFYC, and opportunities for involvement are growing.
You can sign-up for IFYC's excellent e-newsletter here!
IV. Pilgrimages with Project Harvest Hope
Video resource now available: Learn about the Project Harvest Hope Pilgrimages to the Unitarian Homeland in Transylvania.
Link to video
V. Tents of Hope
The Tents of Hope project gives communities the opportunity to respond
to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan by creating tents that are both unique works of art
and ongoing focal points within communities. Through the tents, communities
are learning about, assisting and establishing relationships with the people of Sudan.
You can purchase, construct and/or share a tent. The Unitarian Universalist
Service Committee (UUSC) is providing informational and advocacy resources
to accompany the Tents of Hope project which are available for
download here. They include tips on how to start this project and educational materials to share with your community. You
can also order campaign materials for your event at no charge.
In November, you can accompany or ship your tent to Washington, D.C., for a gathering of tents on the National Mall. The national gathering will last from November 7-9th and will include workshops, vigils, and worship. Afterwards, many of the tents will be shipped to Darfuri refugee camps to be used as shelters for homes, schools, and community centers.
If erecting a Tent for Hope is not a good fit for your congregation, the UUSC is offering
a simple action that everyone can do - advocacy postcards! The postcards urge the U.S. Congress to provide oversight to ensure that the UN peacekeepers in Darfur are trained to respond to the dangers of rape and violence that Aisha and all Darfuri women face. The postcards are uniquely shaped like tents, and you can order them here. The postcards will come with an action packet explaining all you need to know to get your cards into the hands of key policy-makers. .
For more information, visit www.uusc.org/tentsofhope.
VI. ICUU's "The Global Chalice"
The most recent edition of the ICUU newsletter "The Global Chalice" is now available. Highlights include a story on the Canadian Unitarian Council's Annual Conference and Meeting in Ottawa, Canada.
The newsletter is available for download here.
Visit www.icuu.net for more information.
VII. Faith Without Borders
Introduced at General Assembly, the "Faith Without Borders" program invites congregations to integrate a commitment to faithful global citizenship into many aspects of congregational life.
Participants in the program will receive resources, consultation and celebration from the International Resources Office. For more information, click here.
VIII. "UN Sunday" Resources
The UU United Nations Office has created excellent materials for congregations to celebrate UN Sunday on October 26, 2008. They are available here.
Join with UU congregations in North America to support the UU voice at the United Nations and the 2008 UN Sunday theme: Human Rights: Dignity and Justice for Us All.
A similar UN Sunday resource designed with the "Faith Without Borders" framework is also available here. Please make use of either or both of these offerings.
IX. ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Reading for September 2008
The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists announces the 61st in its monthly series of global chalice lighting readings. Congregations worldwide are invited to participate.
All ICUU-affiliated groups have been asked to submit brief chalice lightings for the project. Every month, a reading will be distributed to Unitarian and Universalist congregations around the world. We ask each congregation to use the reading for at least one worship service in the designated month, identifying it as the "Global Chalice Lighting" for that month and naming the group which submitted it. Readings will be circulated in English and, where different, in their original language.
It is hoped that the ICUU Global Chalice Lighting Project will enhance the worship experience in our congregations and raise awareness of the international dimensions of our religious movement.
This Global Chalice Lighting, from the Religious Education Director of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, is to be used during September 2008.
We are safe.
We are together.
We are loved.
And so it will be.
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
- September 28 to October 15, 2008: UUPCC Pilgrimage to India
- October 26, 2008: United Nations Sunday
- October 31 - Nov 2, 2008: European Unitarian Universalists Fall Retreat-Traben-Trabach, Germany
- November 8-9, 2008: Tents of Hope for Darfur - Washington DC
- December 1, 2008: World AIDS Day
- December 10, 2008: 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- February 26 - March 1, 2009: International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women
- April 16-18, 2009: UU-UNO Spring Seminar: "All in the Name of Faith: Rights, Religion, and Responsibility"
XI. Inspired Faith - Effective Action blog
As part of the UUA's Advocacy and Witness Staff group, the International Resources office contributes to the Inspired Faith - Effect Action blog. Visit the blog for postings on a wide variety of issues. Or, subscribe to an rss feed of international-related posts.
XII. International Engagement database
The IRO maintains a database of the many varieties of international engagement that UU congregations are involved with. To date we have records from approximately 150 congregations in the database. Is your congregation one of them? If so, we'd love to update your entry. If not, we'd love to include information about your congregation's international engagement.
Contact Nicole McConvery to check/update your congregation's status in the database.
Or, if you'd like to be in contact with other congregations who are involved with international programs that are similar to yours, let us know and we'll provide you with a report.